Now more than ever, companies are having employees work from home. With technology advances and the growth of businesses worldwide, a remote workforce can help an employer utilize employees, contractors, and even remote partners in ways that were not possible before. There are risks involved with having sensitive company data being accessed over the Internet, but having the right VPN solution can help mitigate security risks, and help keep prying eyes from seeing anything they should not while employees work from home.
Here are 6 reasons why employees should use a VPN while they work from home:
Managing desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones within a corporate setting can help control access levels and protect sensitive data, but once a device leaves the building, the risks of that data being seen by someone outside the company increase significantly.
Having an employee connect to the company’s virtual private network (VPN) to access the resources they need to get work done helps keep the data within the company, and helps prevent the need for local copies to be saved and transferred over the Internet. If an employee can only access the private data when connected into a workstation, either in-person or through a VPN while they work from home, then the data would not need to be publicly accessible through the regular Internet.
Remote workers may be connecting from other offices, outside companies, hotels, coffee shop Wi-Fi, public hotspots, or even just working from home. Each network could have it’s own security vulnerabilities, with a larger risk coming from any open public networks.
Some risks with using open public networks include:
Using a secured VPN can bypass those attacks with an encrypted tunnel directly through to the corporate network. With trusted certificates provided by the VPN server, the client would know they are connecting directly to the network, and any traffic that gets intercepted would just be encrypted packets that are not readable without the decryption key.
This can also be useful for workers who travel to other countries, or even if your company has teams overseas. If the VPN connection itself can be made, then it could be used to get around country blocks and filters that could inhibit access to other sites and resources needed by the worker. This can protect the company’s data from being viewed or recorded by any state or country-level monitoring.
Additionally, to help protect the user’s local machine, as well as the company’s private network, there are VPN solutions that scan the local system to make sure there is an active antivirus program running, along with a check for other possible signs of compromises. If any problem is found, it can alert the employee and prevent them from connecting to the network until the issue is resolved. More advanced solutions can monitor the network traffic itself to detect malicious activity that is already on the network. These types of solutions can also help stop it from spreading further than it already has.
Depending on the amount of control allowed to a remote user, they might be able to reach computers and devices that are not available to anyone else outside of the network.
A VPN can access internal IP addresses, allowing users to connect and access internal network drives, shared folders, and local servers, as well as grant remote access to machines.
This allows remote workers to access to all of the tools and resources they need to get the job done. More control can be taken to limit what is safe to go out over the regular Internet versus what data should be protected and only accessible through a VPN connection.
Helping to prevent data from being lost, stolen, or compromised is always in a company’s best interest. A company’s records might include customer information, payment methods, contracts, financial records, and other proprietary information that should not get into the hands of anyone outside the organization.
Depending on the importance of the data, any stolen information could cause consequences such as lost revenue, lawsuits, or even lowered trust in the company itself. Setting up a VPN solution can help reduce the possible vectors of attack by substantially shrinking the number of attacks that could cause a compromise, and limit data that can be gathered from outside of the network.
To help avoid losses like the ones just mentioned, a business should be willing to spend some amount of money to protect assets if the work is being done remotely. Even a pricier VPN service could be worth the cost if it can help prevent a loss to the company.
Luckily there is a range of products with varying prices to choose from.
With so many VPN options available, there are a large number of guides, documentation, and videos online to make setting up and testing out a whole new system quick and easy.
If time and cost permits, try testing out an option for a week, and see how well it works for your company. If there are any problems, look for another VPN that solves that particular problem and test it out the next week.
If it is a paid service, contact the support team of the company to try to resolve the issue with them. If you don’t have the time to troubleshoot anything, then look for dedicated VPN appliances or even virtual appliances that can help get your team going quickly with minimal setup.
Here are the five absolute must-have features for a VPN:
If you have any remote workers who need access to sensitive information, then you should consider setting them up to connect to a VPN. The privacy and security that a VPN provides to protect the data, the users, and the company itself from outside attacks should be worth the initial investment costs.
Normal protections alone are not always enough, but a VPN paired with security awareness training, other security measures, and set guidelines for anyone who needs access to that data can greatly reduce the risk of attacks, data loss, and financial woes to a company.
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